You know how there are certain ages in life where it seems like you are surrounded by big life events? Like when you’re in your mid to late twenties and lot of people you know are getting married? My brother is in this category and I think last summer, he and his girlfriend went to something like 9 weddings (can you even imagine?!). And I think she was in three or four of them! (The bridesmaid dress horrors! I’m having nightmares just thinking about it!)
But now that I’m a little older (ahem, early 30’s…how did that happen?!) I’m at the stage where everyone I know is having babies. In particular my close group of mom friends have all been pregnant within the last year. And at this point they’re all on baby #2. These are special friends of mine who I met living in the building, two of them have since moved, one close, one far. And they literally saved me from losing my mind. I know that sounds melodramatic but no one tells you that being a stay-at-home mom can be completely lonely. And finding other moms to hang out with is kind of like dating. There’s the awkward phase where you don’t really know each other but you chit chat because you’re in the same storytime or something. Then there’s the day when you have to ask the other mom’s name because you’ve only known her for several months as “Sally’s mom”. And then if you really get along you have to ask for their phone number and try and set up a “playdate.” It’s totally like dating only maybe even harder because you’re also wrangling a toddler at the same time and no one pulls out your chair or buys you dinner.
Anyway, around the time that O was a year and half old, I started to get a little bored and a little lonely for adult conversation. So AA and I forced ourselves to go to a party our building was having for the kids for Valentine’s Day. I HATE this kind of thing where you’re forced to talk to people you’ve never met before. I’m completely terrible at it. But luckily I happened to sit down next to, perhaps the nicest person ever, E, and discovered that her son also had peanut allergy (Instant converstation starter! Let’s trade horrible allergy stories! ). She introduced me to a few of the other moms who were home all day (or most of the day) in our building and then next thing I knew, I had a group of four amazing women to hang out with regularly. I regularly count my blessing that I have them in my life. Do you have people like that?
Anyway, one of them just had a baby about a month and half ago, one is due in a couple weeks and another is due at the end of September. For a second baby, most people don’t have a big baby shower but we have had a little “sprinkle” for these new babies and it’s been a lot of fun. We all go in on one big gift that we know they actually need (like a rumble seat for their stroller or something) but if you know me, you know I am genetically compelled to make presents. I just can’t not do it. I really can’t.
I have done all kinds of gifts in the past, knitted blankets (take forever!) fancy quilts, sweaters, hats etc. But I don’t have quite as much free time as I used to and so I recently started making these Super Easy Baby Shower Quilts. You might call them cheater quilts because they’re made from one single piece of fabric for each side but I won’t. I sewed up two of these in one Saturday (while AA kindly supervised O) and they turned out really cute but are still a little nicer than a flannel receiving blanket or something. And the batting makes them great for those early months when newborns need something to lay on all the time.
Super Easy Baby Shower Quilt
1 yard of quilting fabric for the front
1 yard of flannel fabric for the back
1 package of natural cotton quilt batting (craft size is ok)
1/4 yard of quilting fabric for the binding
1. First you cut your yard of front fabric into a square. Most quilting fabric is 44″ wide and if you bought a yard, it will be 44″ x 36″. Cut it to 36″ x “36”. (You can do this at any size, it really doesn’t matter) This will be the finished size of your quilt.
2. Cut the batting and backing fabric a few inches wider than the front fabric, this can be rough.
3. Lay the front fabric right side down on your table. Lay the batting on top. And then lay the backing fabric right side up on top of that. The batting and backing will overhang the front, that’s ok.
4. Turn the “quilt sandwich” over so the front fabric is up and, making sure the fabric and batting is really really smooth, safety pin the layers together. This is called “basting”.
5. Now you can quilt. It can be helpful to either follow some part of the pattern of your fabric or draw your quilting lines on ahead of time with a disappearing fabric pen. For this quilt, I followed some big square in the pattern. If you have a walking foot for your sewing machine, use it.
6. Lay your quilted quilt out on a table and carefully trim away the extra batting and backing fabric.
7. Now, it’s time to bind your quilt. First cut strips of the binding fabric. (You can also totally use pre-made binding if you want). I cut mine 2.5″ wide. You need as many inches of binding as the length of the perimeter of your quilt. In our case that’s 36″ x 4 plus a few extra inches (approx. 150″).
8. When it come to binding the quilt, I was going to show you all the steps here, but honestly, this tutorial from Oh, Fransson is much better than I could explain and it’s my go-to method. So follow that, up until you get to the hand-stitching part. When it’s time to fold your binding back over to the front of the quilt, I prefer an invisible ladder stitch as opposed to a whip stitch like she shows.
9. When you’re done binding your quilt, run it through the washer and dryer so it’s cozy and crinkly and you’re done!
I also made this one for my friend who’s having a boy:
They were a big hit at our surprise baby “sprinkle” last night. What’s your go to baby shower gift?